If you’ve tuned into my podcast, Distressed to Joyful; Bailey’s Way, you’re probably fully aware that I am no stranger to trauma as well as the work it takes to be able to heal from it. Alongside working with my therapist, I’ve read many books to help me better understand the things that I’ve been through while also being able to view the situations from a different perspective. The following list are books that I found to be the most impactful so far along my journey to healing. Please note that they are listed in no particular order. I hope that you’ll choose to read a few (or all!) of these and that they’ll help you to be able to find the relief that you are seeking.
- I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown – While I love all of Brené Brown’s works, I really appreciated this one and wish I would’ve gotten to it sooner. It’s one of her first published books so she hadn’t fully found her style yet, but the message is still beautiful as ever. Understanding that you’re not alone in times of struggle is very important in being able to get through it. The overall message of this book is that you are not alone; there are many people who walk in similar shoes as you, but because we’ve been taught as a society not to talk about our faults and struggles, we often suffer in silence. I hope you choose to read this book and that it will inspire you to be vulnerable, courageous and to connect with those around you to bring about comfort, peace and healing. Get a copy of it here.
- The Good Stuff From Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family: How to Survive and Then Thrive by Karen Casey – This book was created using many interviews of individuals in an Alcoholics Anonymous group that the author composed together into an insightful piece of work. I enjoyed reading the stories of those who have overcome their own traumas and personal challenges as it was incredibly uplifting. My family of origin was the definition of dysfunctional, so learning that some of the dysfunction actually helped me become the woman that I am today was such a wonderful mindset shift. Before reading this book, I didn’t realize that I gained many great skills while in “survival mode” during my youth in my chaotic household. I really appreciated the effort put into this book and the vulnerability of those that the author interviewed who chose to share their stories. Purchase a copy of the book here.
- Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb – This book will open your eyes to the world of therapy in a whole new interesting and heartfelt perspective! I laughed, cried and felt pretty much every other emotion known to the human race while reading this. It’s a little lengthy, but I seriously read the last 200 pages in a week’s time because I could NOT put it down. Whether you’re considering therapy for the first time or have been doing so for years, I highly recommend that you read this. Click here to learn more.
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron – My therapist had been recommending that I read this book for years and I can say that I totally understand why! This book not only teaches you how the Enneagram (a personality scale) works, but it also opens your mind to understanding why other people do what they do. This book helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself while also allowing compassion towards others to fill my heart – both of which are very important during the healing process. Get the book here.
- Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner – I don’t remember if my therapist recommended this book or if I heard Brené Brown talk about it on one of her podcasts…but regardless, this is a must-read for everyone! In this book, Dr. Lerner teaches us to accept that not everyone who hurts us will be able or willing to apologize to us in a meaningful and acceptable manner. You’ll learn tools on how to move forward with past hurts without receiving “what you want” from the other party. She uses real-life examples from her therapy practice which makes it easy to relate to and understand. The book is a quick read and I highly recommend that you check it out. It’s a perspective shift that is incredibly helpful when overcoming past traumas. Click here to learn more.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown – This was the first of all of the Brené Brown books that I’ve read, and after reading it, I officially became an enormous fan of this woman’s philosophies! I’m very glad that I read this one first (as recommended by my therapist to help my mental state at that time), for it taught me the realities and dangers of perfectionism. In my life, perfectionism was taught to me by my mother, which caused a lot of fights and arguments between us, plus a lot of self-worth issues that grew bigger and deeper as I grew older. From Dr. Brown’s teachings in this book, I learned that making mistakes is part of life and that it is okay to make messes. The messy, imperfect moments of life are often the best ones that we shouldn’t let slip by. Most importantly, I learned to love and accept myself as the strong, beautiful, hot-mess that I am! I highly recommend that anyone struggling with perfectionism read this. Get yourself a copy of the book here.
For those of you not interested in purchasing any of these books but still interested in reading them, I totally get it! Check out your local library – I am thrilled to share with you that I was able to borrow a copy of each of these books from my local library. I don’t care what anyone else says, having a library card is cool as hell and you should get yourself one if you don’t already have one.
Do you have any recommendations on more books that are helpful when on a journey to healing? Leave a comment below and let me know what I should read next! 🙂
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